Serena edges top seed Halep to reach last eight

Serena edges top seed Halep to reach last eight

Williams continued her march towards a record 24th grand slam title, vanquishing world no.1 Halep in a high-quality fourth round contest at the Australian Open.

She has been in ominous form at Melbourne Park as she seeks one more major title to put her alongside Margaret Court's record 24, and it looked like French Open champion Halep would be another easy scalp after a first set rout.

Blown away in the first set before battling back impressively to force a decider, Halep remained upbeat despite slipping to a ninth defeat to Williams in their past 10 meetings. Williams faces No. 7 Karolina Pliskova, whom she has played only three times in her career (Williams is 2-1), in the quarterfinals on Wednesday before she would take on the victor of a quarterfinal matchup between Naomi Osaka and Elina Svitolina.

"It was an intense match and there were some incredible points", Williams said. 'I really needed to elevate my game, I had to play like I knew I could and that was hopefully the difference.

The duo were about to start their fourth round tie as Serena accidentally walked out on court ahead of Halep when the court announcer presented the "world No 1".

"At this stage I have to work hard to get the level back, to feel 100 percent every match. It's a super pleasure".

But the American broke back in the next, racing to the net for an overhead smash when one of her powerfully hit returns flew high off Halep's racquet.

"I'm such a fighter, I just never give's definitely something that's innate". It's a miracle I'm here and I get to do something I enjoy.

Halep, last year's runner-up, may now be dethroned at the top of the WTA leaderboard, with Naomi Osaka, Petra Kvitova, Elina Svitolina and Karolina Pliskova all within striking distance.

After rampaging through the early rounds without dropping a set, the 37-year-old was at least forced to work for her victory by Halep, who on paper is the top-ranked player in the world.

"And I said I don't think it's a good idea and I'll tell you why". "I'm also curious about who is going to win".

Pliskova advanced earlier Monday with a 6-3, 6-1 victory over two-time major champion Garbine Muguruza. Visibly frustrated, how would she react Monday night, in the heat of a tight three-setter - the first she'd faced this tournament (and only her fifth since returning from maternity leave last March)?

It was after her that Serena was introduced and came out again to a cheering Rod Laver Arena. I was really happy for her, because everyone was writing her off. So when I explained that to her she said, "oh you are right, let's keep it like this". The Ukrainian won their other three matches, two as a front-runner.

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